Getting ahead of your competitors is a well known obsession of many company directors. The desire to outpace the competition often leads to increased pressure on customer service, sales teams and external agencies. All of these groups find themselves having to meet ever more demanding targets but less thought is typically applied to the quality of their education and training. How do we measure the value of a more highly trained team? How can we outperform our competitors by investing in our own team’s professional development?

More competent team members, increased employee retention, higher employee satisfaction and, crucially, more satisfied end customers are the likely consequences of continued investment in professional development. Historically, those who most clearly saw the advantages of a proactive approach to employee training invested large amounts of capital in traditional company-wide development programs. These have often been implemented as away days, conferences or classes run off-site by third parties. While clearly beneficial from an educational standpoint, the financial cost of running such courses quickly stacks up.

Brainstorming over paper
Photo by Scott Graham / Unsplash

According to KPMG, some companies consume up to 60% of their total training budget on traveling costs alone. Little surprise then that 90% of enterprise level companies are now leveraging online learning. The data precedes Covid-19 so we can safely predict it has only increased since then. This corporate e-learning approach most commonly takes the form of online courses where teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. This saves companies both time and money as well as offering a more flexible and customised learning experience for the employee. Such are the benefits to employer and employee alike, that online e-courses in most industries are now abundant in both their availability and range.

The funeral sector is no exception with courses offered in the UK ranging from learning how to hold funeral ceremonies in which there is no body to in-depth studies of how to provide an eco-burial. Funeral directing is undergoing change and the need to better understand the changing expectations of the bereaved, adapt to shifting regulations and be prepared for whatever the future of the funeral industry may bring is reflected in the subject matters and topics offered by online courses.

The rigour of online courses also varies, ranging from basic introductions to deathcare geared towards newcomers through to fully accredited diplomas for long-term deathcare professionals. This variety of options in formal courses is supplemented by other, more casual, e-learning formats such as webinars. Some of them are run independently and others are officially backed, or even administered, by one of the major funeral associations. Quite the task then to understand what online funeral course is right for you and your team and where to look for more information. In this post we will assist the initial part of the process by rounding up all the major funeral courses available online in the UK.

List of Online Funeral Courses by Association

NAFD

NAFD Funeral Directing DipFD

Available online: Unconfirmed

The NAFD has a dedicated website which covers its education offering although not all of it is online. They are also retiring the former Diploma in Funeral Arranging and Administration (Dip.FAA) and Diploma in Funeral Directing (Dip.FD) and at the time of writing were about to launch the first replacement diploma; the NAFD Funeral Directing DipFD. It is not clear whether this will be available online so we suggest contacting the NAFD directly.

NAFD Manual of Funeral Directing

Available online: Yes

Cost: £36

Certification: N/A

Although it is available to buy and download online, the NAFD Manual of Funeral Directing 2020 is, as the name suggests, more a manual than a course. Nevertheless at a price point of £36 and updated every 6 months it is an excellent pdf to stay up to date with.

Funeral Service Awareness Training

Available online: Yes

Cost: £150

Certification: Certificate of Training from the NAFD for all students who pass. Certificate of Training from OneAwards for students that are graded Outstanding

This programme is aimed at younger age groups or people who are beginning a career in funeral management. It covers the profession in general terms and should be regarded as a primer or introduction rather than an in-depth training course.

LAFD

Certificate in Funeral Arranging and Administration

Available online: Yes, newly converted to interactive format. May return to offline after Covid-19.

Cost: £645 including 10 tutored sessions

Certification: Postnominal ‘CertFAA’ & physical display certificate

Run in partnership with Dr Brian Parsons, the LAFD Certificate in Funeral Arranging & Administration has been running since 2007. It is aimed at funeral professionals in direct contact with the bereaved. It covers all aspects of funeral arrangement and is intended to be valuable training regardless of the size of the funeral director firm. It runs for 11 weeks and culminates in a 90min written exam.

SAIF

Webinars

Available online: Yes

Cost: Free for members

SAIF regularly runs webinars aimed at the funeral industry. Recent topics have included “Marketing for funeral directors during a national emergency” and “A beginner’s guide to software for the funeral profession”. Past webinars are available on the website: https://saif.org.uk/events/

List of other online Funeral Courses

The Independent Funeral Directors (IFD) College

Funeral Director Units

Available online: Yes

Cost: Varies by unit (£303.50 - £891). 10% discounts available for SAIF members.

Certification: see below

The IFD exists to provide vocational training to funeral industry members and has been offering virtual training since 1995. It is a well known and respected institution within the sector and offers 5 online courses each of which contains separate units:

Health & Safety for Funeral Staff

Foundation Funeral Practitioner

Funeral Operative

Funeral Administrator

Arranging Infant and Child Funerals

Certificate in Funeral Practice (Cert. FP) and Fellowship

Available online: Yes

Cost: Varies by units chosen. 10% discounts available for SAIF members.

Certification:Students who successfully gain a combination of units listed above are awarded the Certificate in Funeral Practice (Cert.FP).

Holders of Cert. FP, NAFD Diploma and BIFD Diploma may become members of the IFD College and earn the postnominal MIFDC. Membership costs £30 but requires undertaking 12 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) during a 12month period in order for membership to be renewed.

More information on https://ifdcollege.org/

One Education

Funeral Service Business Course

Available online: Yes

Cost: £425

Certification: Level 3 Diploma endorsed by TQUK (Additional £9). 5 CPD points (Additional £39)

Perhaps not suitable for experienced Funeral Directors this an online course consisting of 11 online modules, 2 quizzes and a final exam and is a general overview of funeral services. It is aimed at those considering a career in funeral management or someone who has been absent from the sector and requires a refresh on current best practice including psychological, social and cultural behaviours related to death.

Funeral Arranger Training Course

Available online: Yes

Cost: £425

Certification: Level 3 Certificate (Additional £9). CPD compatible.

This is a suitable course for aspiring Funeral Directors. It is a comprehensive study of funeral directing from embalming, transporting the deceased’s remains, dealing with the deceased's personal matters, handling paperwork to arranging the ceremony, coffin, venue, flowers, and food. There are also modules on business management and legal considerations.

La Calavera College

Funeral Directing Course

Available online: Yes (details pending)

Cost: n/a

Certification: tbc

La Calavera College offers courses on embalming and mortuary science as well as funeral directing. It has a virtual learning environment which provides an online diary, topical chat as well as digital copies of course materials. The Funeral Directing Course is currently pending announcement. Visit the site for the latest information:

https://www.lacalaveracollege.com/funeral-industry-courses/funeral-directing

London Institute of Business Management

Funeral Service Management Diploma Level 3

Available online: Yes (details pending)

Cost: £309

Certification: Diploma Level 3. CPD compatible.

The online course covers topics such as business management, public health, socio-behavioural aspects of funeral directing, in addition to legal, technical, and regulatory aspects of funeral management. According to the LIBM it encourages independent thinking and sensitivity to contemporary societal views towards death. The course includes support from an online tutor and is assessed via a multiple-choice exam taken online.

Please note courses which require a physical presence or contact with a local tutor, such as those run by the BIFD, have been omitted from this list. Comment below if you feel we have missed any online courses and we will include it in our list.